Comics Alternative, Euro Comics: Reviews of The Initiates and Satania

Time Codes:



For the March episode of the Euro Comics series, Pascal Hamon joins Derek to discuss two recent books from NBM Graphic Novels. They begin with Étienne Davodeau’s The Initiates: A Comic Artist and a Wine Artisan Exchange Jobs, an autobiographical account of the artist and his friend’s mutual education on what the other does. As Pascal points out, the majority of this narrative concerns Davodeau learning about winemaking and literally getting his hands dirty during the process. Not as much space is given to his friend, Richard Leroy, as he is initiated into the comics industry in France, but this makes sense, given the fact that Davodeau is the author of this account and spends a lot of time revealing what he has learned.

After that, Pascal and Derek discuss Satania, the most recent collaboration between Fabien Vehlmann and Kerascoët. Their earlier book, Beautiful Darkness, was actually something discussed on the Euro Comics episode in January of last year. This is a similarly fantastical narrative and is, in fact, quite a bit wilder than the earlier book. On the literal level, this is a journey underground, but the guys read this text as more of a psychological narrative. Its young protagonist, Charlotte, while searching for her lost older brother is nonetheless coming to terms with her own issues as she becomes a grown woman. And, of course, Kerascoët’s art is mesmerizing.

This marks the debut of Pascal as the new cohost for the Euro Comics series, taking over from Edward while he is on hiatus. Please be sure to contact the Two Guys and welcome Pascal to the podcast!

Comics Alternative Kickstarter: Kilgore Books and Comics’ 2018 Releases

More Kilgore!

This week’s Kickstarter episode is brought to you by the great folks at Kilgore Books and Comics. If that publisher sounds familiar, that’s because the Two Guys have discussed a variety of Kilgore publications in the past…including a publisher spotlight episode back in 2016!

Its current Kickstarter campaign is all about their 2018 releases. Dan Stafford, Kilgore’s head honcho, talks with Derek about the various titles scheduled for this year, and there are a lot. Backers can look forward to:

  • Blammo #10, by Noah Van Sciver
  • Tinderella, by M.S. Harkness
  • Tommy Time, by Tom Van Deusen
  • Baseline Blvd, by Emi Gennis
  • Lawns, by Alex Nall
  • September 12, by Robert Sergel
  • Angloid, by Alex Graham
  • Monkey Chef: A Love Story, by Mike Freiheit
  • And an untitled Inechi comic by Inés Estrada

As listeners of The Comics Alternative know, Kilgore publishes great titles, the kind that define what the podcast is all about. So be sure to back this campaign and get your batch of 2018 releases from Kilgore Books and Comics!

Sample Covers



Comics Alternative Interviews: Ho Che Anderson

Time Codes:

  • 00:00:24 – Introduction
  • 00:02:45 – Setup of interview
  • 00:06:17 – Interview with Ho Che Anderson
  • 01:12:00 – Wrap up
  • 01:14:51 – Contact us


Are You Sitting Comfortably?

On this interview episode, Gene and Derek talk with Ho Che Anderson about his new book Godhead, coming out next week from Fantagraphics Books. This is a work of speculative fiction involving corporate culture and its attempts to communicate with God. It’s an ambitious narrative that zeroes in on the juncture of religion, technology, and capitalist greed. The book is the first of two volumes exploring this futuristic world, and it’s a project that Anderson has been developing for years. The guys talk extensively with their guest about the genesis of and the creative process underlying Godhead, but they also ask about his larger body of work and its sheer diversity, from the erotic I Want to Be Your Dog, to the five-issue series (along with Wilfred Santiago) Pop Life, to the text he’s perhaps best known for, his graphic biography of Martin Luther King. Both Gene and Derek have been big fans of Anderson’s comics for years, and they’re excited to finally get him on the podcast. Listen up and learn!

Comics Alternative, Episode 272: Reviews of Babylon Berlin, The True Death of Billy the Kid, and The Highest House #1

Time Codes:



This week Gene and Derek discuss three recent titles, all of which concern mysteries. They begin with Babylon Berlin (Titan Comics), Arne Jysch’s comics adaptation of Volker Kutscher’s noir prose novel. It takes place in 1929 Berlin and set in the Weimar Republic, with all of its historical and cultural contexts embedded within. The guys are very impressed with Jysch and Kutscher’s narrative, and they spend a lot of time not only discussing the work as an example of crime noir, but also the issues involved in adapting a text from one medium to another (including the recent Netflix series).

Next, they look at Rick Geary’s latest efforts, The True Death of Billy The Kid (NBM Graphic Novels). This began as a Kickstarter campaign back in 2014, and in many ways it follows the format of Geary’s true crime comics. Indeed, both Derek and Gene are big fans of Geary’s art and his handling of the history and research surrounding infamous deeds. This is not a biography of Billy the Kid, but true to the book’s title, it focuses on the days that lead up to the death of this legendary figure.

Finally, the Two Guys turn their attention to The Highest House #1 (IDW Publishing). Released in conjunction with the French publisher Glénat Editions, this brings back together Mike Carey, Peter Gross, and Yuko Shimizu, the creative team that brought us The Unwritten. This story is more of an overt fantasy than the previous series. The inaugural issue sets a solid foundation for Carey’s world building, and as both Gene and Derek observe, the larger album format allows a full display of Gross’s marvelous art.

Comics Alternative Kickstarter: The Not So Golden Age #2


This weekend Derek talks with Joseph Freistuhler about his current Kickstarter project, The Not So Gold Age #2. This parody of the superhero genre is actually a webcomic, the first physical issue of which Joseph and his co-creator Phil Buck successfully Kickstarted back in 2016. How they’re back to bring the second issue into paper existence.

The Not So Golden Age is the story of several washed up, dysfunctional superheroes. They were once the premier heroes of their generation, but having been unused for so long, they’re relegated to the dreaded public domain. As a result, they now reside in a trailer park outside of Reno, Nevada. That happens.

As Derek’s talk with Joseph reveals, this is a project steeped in humor, from the narrative itself to the mock ads that populate the insides. As the writer reveals upfront in his Kickstarter disclaimer, “This comic may not actually be the best comic you will ever read. However, it is the best comic book my mother will ever read!”

So please, join Joseph’s mother in enjoying the warm, nougaty, comics-filled goodness of The Not So Golden Age by backing the printing of the second issue! You’ll be glad you did.

Sample Art



Comics Alternative, Webcomics: Reviews of Everblue, Handrava, and Warning Label

Time Codes:

  • 00:00:27 – Introduction
  • 00:02:56 – We get mail!
  • 00:08:08 – Everblue
  • 00:34:53 – Handrava
  • 01:07:31 – Warning Label
  • 01:33:36 – Wrap up
  • 01:35:17 – Contact us



For the month of March, Sean and Derek discuss three webcomics that are very different in terms of art style and storytelling technique. However, what all three have in common is a focus on relationships. They start off with Michael Sexton’s Everblue, a fantastical tale about two young adventurers who want to explore their world while at the same time avoiding the threats that are in pursuit. After that the guys discuss Handrava, a more realistic narrative set in Madagascar’s capital city. It’s author Rado R. captures the rhythms and flavors of his subject matter through both the dialogue and the visual layout of his scripting. Finally, Derek and Sean turn to a recently completed webcomic, Thom Zahler’s Warning Label. As with the creator’s previous works — most notably Love and Capes, Long Distance, and Time and Vine — the focus is on relationships and its unpredictable contours. This is yet another impressive work from Zahler, and one that will leave you, once again, with a warm and positive feeling.

Comics Alternative, Episode 271: The March Previews Catalog

Mischievous Two-Headed Mummy-Chimp

It’s the first of the month, and that must mean that it’s time once again to look at the latest Previews catalog. For the month of March, Gene and Derek step up to the plate to take a swing at the many solicitations, highlighting what they consider the most notable upcoming titles. In fact, there’s so much to choose from, that this month’s Previews episode is an extra-long show…running for almost three hours! Are the Two Guys up to the challenge? Do they heroically take on an unwieldy  amount of material, or do they unnecessarily extend what could have been covered in a more manageable hour and a half? Listen to the episode, and you decide. And while doing so, you’ll discover many new comic books and graphic novels such as those published by:




Comics Alternative Interviews: Ivy Noelle Weir and Steenz

Time Codes:

  • 00:26 – Introduction
  • 02:22 – Setup of interview
  • 03:26 – Interview with Ivy Noelle Weir and Steenz
  • 49:58 – Wrap up
  • 50:30 – Contact us


Ask a Librarian

Derek talks with Ivy Noelle Weir and Christina “Steenz” Steward about their new book coming out next week from Oni Press, Archival Quality. It’s the story of a young woman who gets a job as a museum archivist, but who soon discovers that her new place of employment is haunted. As she investigates the mystery behind the spectral activity, she also confronts her struggles with mental health and the relationships that have sustained her in the past. Over the course of the conversation, Ivy and Steenz share the genesis of the narrative, their methods of collaboration, and the story’s thematic observations and keen cultural awareness.

Comics Alternative Interviews: Talking with Denis Kitchen for Will Eisner Week 2018

Time Codes:

  • 00:00:26 – Introduction
  • 00:02:37 – Setup of interview
  • 00:04:05 – Interview with Denis Kitchen
  • 01:10:35 – Wrap up
  • 01:11:35 – Contact us


Where There’s a Will…

We’re in the middle of Will Eisner Week 2018, and over the past several years The Comics Alternative has offered special episodes to celebrate the annual event. This year is no exception. On this episode, Derek is pleased to have back on the podcast Denis Kitchen, this time discussing his relationship with the comics legend, his history with him as a publisher and businessman, and his first-hand accounts of the various career moves  Will Eisner experienced beginning in the 1970s. Along the way Denis talks with Derek about his first encounters with Eisner, how Kitchen Sink Comics helped to introduce The Spirit to a whole new generation, Eisner’s evolution as a graphic novelist, and his experiences in working with Eisner as both an editor and as an agent.



Comics Alternative Kickstarter: The North Star: The Emancipation of Frederick Douglass


On this weekend’s Kickstarter episode, Derek talks with Barron Bell and Koi Turnbull about their campaign The North Star: The Emancipation of Frederick Douglass. It’s a graphic adaptation of the memoir, Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, and it’s the first of three planned volumes on Douglass’s life.

The North Star is a dramatic retelling of three pivotal moments in Frederick Douglass’s story, bringing to life the legendary figure’s efforts as an abolitionist, a businessman, a politician, and a man of faith. There are a variety of reward levels, some of which underscore this project’s goal as an educational tool.

Support these noble intentions by backing this Kickstarter campaign. And learn more about the work of Barron Bell and Koi Turnbull.

Sample Art



Comics Alternative, Episode 270: A Publisher Spotlight on kuš!

Time Codes:

  • 00:00:26 – Introduction
  • 00:02:47 – Thanks to Holly English!
  • 00:05:07 – The 2017 releases from kuš!
  • 01:36:29 – Wrap up
  • 01:38:00 – Contact us


kuštraveganza or kušapalooza?

This week Gene and Derek focus a critical spotlight on the Latvian publisher kuš! This is a press that the vast majority of listeners are probably unaware of — indeed, neither of the Two Guys knew about kuš! until about three years ago — and that’s a shame. They produce incredible comics from artists that span the globe. And as Gene points out, there’s really no such thing as a “kuš! style.” The sheer variety of visual approaches that can be found in kuš! publications is truly astounding.

Since kuš! publishes so many comics, Derek and Gene have decided to limit their discussion to just those titles the press released in 2017. But even that is a challenging volume of output. Last year kuš! put out four of their š! anthologies, four kuš! mono volumes, and sixteen issues in the mini kuš! series. As the guys point out multiple times during this episode, there’s no way to thoroughly discuss every single title that came out in 2017, but they do their best to cover as much ground as possible, and in hopes of giving listeners incentive to check out the wonderful releases from this publisher.

Here is a complete list of kuš! releases from 2017, including the month of publication:

  • mini kuš! #47 “Sutrama” by Daniel Lima, January
  • mini kuš! #48 “Nul” by Olive Booger, January
  • mini kuš! #49 “Call of Cthulhu” by Martin Lacko/ H. P. Lovecraft, January
  • mini kuš! #50 “Spectacular Vermacular” by Mathilde Van Gheluwe, January
  • š! #27 “BFF,” February
  • Brume by Amanda Baeza, kuš! mono #2, February
  • mini kuš! #51 “Mirror Stage” by Jaakko Pallasvuo, April
  • mini kuš! #52 “Acquisition” by Cátia Serrão, April
  • mini kuš! #53 “Yellow” by Līva Kandevica, April
  • mini kuš! #54 “Bad Ball” by Samplerman, April
  • An Exorcism by Theo Ellsworth, kuš! mono #3, April
  • š! #28 “Scandal!,” April
  • š! #29 “Celebration,” July
  • mini kuš! #55 “Valley” by GG, August
  • mini kuš! #56 “A Friend” by Andrés Magán, August
  • mini kuš! #57 “Eviction” by Evangelos Androutsopoulos, August
  • mini kuš! #58 “Night Door” by Patrick Kyle, August
  • mini kuš! #59 “Share The Love” by Paula Bulling / Nina Hoffmann, October
  • mini kuš! #60 “His Last Comic” by Noah Van Sciver, October
  • mini kuš! #61 “Jonah 2017” by Tomasz Niewiadomski, October
  • mini kuš! #62 “Daughter” by Aidan Koch, October
  • š! #30 “Brooklyn,” November
  • Fenix by Zane Zlemeša, kuš! mono #4, November
  • Fearless Colors by Samplerman, kuš! mono #5, November

Be sure to visit the kuš! website and check out their many releases. Better yet, subscribe!



Comics Alternative, Manga: Reviews of Red Colored Elegy and The Promised Neverland, Vol. 1

Time Codes:


Demonic Relationships

Shea and Derek are back with their February manga episode. This month they look at two titles that, in many ways, are diametrically opposite in terms of style and audience. They begin with Seiichi Hayashi’s Red Colored Elegy, the softcover edition of which has just been released from Drawn and Quarterly. This is the story of two young artists cohabiting and the struggles they endure with their families, they work, and their relationship with one another. But there’s much more going on in this narrative, as the guys abundantly point out. This is an experimental work that was originally serialized in Garo during the early 1970s, and Hayashi’s variations in visual style, along with his employment of nonconventional storytelling techniques, are what make this such an intriguing and significant work.

After that, Shea and Derek discuss the first volume of Kaiu Shirai and Posuka Demizu’s The Promised Neverland (VIZ Media). It’s a fantastical, and even futuristic, series about a community of orphans who learn that their comfortable life is undergirded by demonic forces. Both of the guys appreciate Demizu’s art, and they’re intrigued by the series’ premise. At the same time, they wonder about some of the choices the creators made toward the end of this first volume, especially regarding narrative focalization. But they’re both interested in seeing how things develop and if, indeed, Shirai’s storytelling choices turn out to be effective as the plot unfolds. VIZ Media released the second volume of the series earlier this month, but the guys weren’t able to get copies of that text in time for this recording (despite reaching out several times to the publisher’s publicity department).

Comics Alternative Interviews: Gary Groth

Time Codes:

  • 00:00:25 – Introduction
  • 00:02:22 – Setup of interview
  • 00:03:43 – Interview with Gary Groth
  • 01:07:09 – Wrap up
  • 01:07:42 – Contact us


Thoughts of a Master

On this interview episode Derek talks with Fantagraphics publisher Gary Groth about his new book Sparring with Gil Kane: Debating the History and Aesthetics of Comics. It’s a collection of thirteen interviews, conversations, and panel transcripts focusing on Kane and his aesthetics. The pieces that Groth collects highlight the legendary artist’s thoughts on the potential and limitations of the medium, his relationship with other creators, and Kane’s place within the larger context of comics history. As Groth reveals, this book was long in the making, and it’s the first of several Gil Kane-related works that Fantagraphics will publish in the coming years.


Comics Alternative Kickstarter: Corpus: A Comic Anthology of Bodily Ailments

Body of Work

This week talks with Nadia Shammas about her Kickstarter project Corpus: A Comic Anthology of Bodily Ailments. It’s a collection of comics by various creators all focused on health issues, including physical ailments, mental illness, struggles with disease, and healthcare experiences.

The anthology is in full color and will include over 200 pages of content by a wide variety of artists including

To say the least, there’s a lot packed into this anthology! Be sure to back this Kickstarter campaign. It will be great for your health!

Sample Art

From “The Curse” by Christof Bogacs and Kaska Gazdowna

From “A Twisted Tale” by Ryan Estrada

From “Odin’s Eye” by Cody Sousa and Ben D’Amico



Comics Alternative, On Location: The February Visit to Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find

Shop Talk

Derek is back at Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find for the February on-location episode. As he usually does, he set up his mics on a Wednesday evening while customers were coming into the shop to pick up the weekly releases. And during this time a couple of Wednesday Warriors sat down with Derek to talk about what they were reading, what they were looking forward to in the coming months, and what about comics culture they currently find exciting. Both Zyg and Fadi shared the week’s titles that they had come to pick up, but the conversation went well beyond that. Among the various topics they discussed were current happenings in the Marvel Universe, favorite artists, eagerly awaited upcoming releases, the new Black Panther movie, Riverdale and other non-superhero comics adaptations, and (believe it or not) Hughes and Whitney’s HerbieYep, they talked about the Fat Fury.